It’s a different experience for the rest of us, too

Via the NYT this morning, an inside look into White House nanny tactics for staff:

 Michael Strautmanis had no sooner started his White House job as a deputy assistant to the president when his boss began badgering him.

“Am I working out? Am I eating right?” Mr. Strautmanis recalled President Obama asking. “And then he told me that I should use his trainer.”

The very fit president has sent other White House aides to Cornell McClellan, the trainer, a genial master tormenter who is the secret weapon behind Michelle Obama’s famously toned arms and who has overseen both Obamas’ exercise programs for more than a decade.

Mr. Strautmanis made one — and only one — appointment with Mr. McClellan, just to satisfy the president. But Mr. Obama had other plans.

As Mr. Strautmanis walked away from a White House news conference one morning, the president caught up with him and called out, “Strautmanis, Cornell says you’re not showing up for your workouts.”

And that’s when I knew this was going to be a different experience for me,” said Mr. Strautmanis, who has forsaken cheeseburgers, taken up egg whites and lost 20 pounds since he started twice-weekly sessions with Mr. McClellan in a gym at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

How I knew it would be a different experience for me: my receipts for groceries and gas. Normally I’d say I’ll keep my cheeseburger, thankyouverymuch, but with a pound of lean ground beef higher than a gallon of gasoline, maybe not.

When asked about fuel prices at a RaceTrac service station in Dallas, Shaun DuFresne tapped the screen on the pump, showing he had just spent $90.14 for diesel — at $3.50 a gallon — to fill his 2006 Ford F-250 pickup truck. Then he said something unprintable.

I did, too, once I realized that my quick trip to the store tallied $50.

I’m sure we’ll all lose more weight subsisting on dried beans and walking to the market for our meager rations.

Isn’t that what Michelle wanted in the first place?

H/t: Memeorandum.

UPDTAE: A “Recommended Read” at Pundit & Pundette. Thanks!


Which is safer, the bunny or the blender?

Via Jill Stanek, a fabulous ad from the American Life League:

Waiting for the liberal angst parade (and the PETA dupes) in 3, 2, 1…

And via Hot Air headlines this morning, another reminder why socialized medicine isn’t in the best interests of patients.  If state docs now tell patients that abortion is “safer” than a term pregnancy, what’s the benefit?  Lower costs for the state. It’s not safer, but it’s cheaper to kill a child before incurring prenatal medical costs, delivery costs, myriad vaccinations, those dreadful monthly checkups, etc.

From the Telegraph:

The guidance also says that women who are deciding whether to have an abortion must be told that most do not suffer any psychological harm. Until now, their advice has been that while rates of psychiatric illness and self-harm in women are higher among those who had an abortion, there was no evidence that termination itself was likely to trigger psychological problems.

Oh, really?

Speaking in a personal capacity, Prof Patricia Casey, a consultant psychiatrist and fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “The message this sends out is very worrying. There are more than 30 studies showing an association between psychological trauma and abortion.”

No evidence at all, though I’m sure it’s cheaper for the state to assume the risk of future psychiatric care than the financial burden of bringing a new life into the world.

Exit question: what happens to the state when it exterminates its future tax base and the money all runs dry?

A Break from News: Breakfast (or in this case, brunch)

Enjoy your Sunday. Make something yummy.

Pancake Mix, adapted from Alton Brown

6 c. flour (I use 3 c all-purpose and 3 c white whole wheat)

1.5 t baking soda

3 t baking powder

1 T kosher salt

2 T sugar

Mix in ziplock. Store in cupboard until you’d like some fabulous pancakes.

To 1 c mix (enough for my family of 3 plus a few left over or easily double, triple, etc), add:

1 egg

1 c milk

1 T yogurt or sour cream

2 T melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

Mix liquid. Add to dry. Don’t overmix. Will be a little lumpy. Pour ladelfuls onto hot greased griddle. Flip when surface bubbles break.

We like ours with maple syrup. Or berries and jam. Bacon not optional. (Shh, don’t tell Michelle!)

No! I’m not blogging on Wisconsin!

But I still shake my head at what passes for logic or thoughtful discourse when we approach the topic of education.  So in a fit of snark, I pick these two unrelated and yet very similar vignettes…

Rand Paul on Letterman and a poorly named “Living Ark” classroom project in London. 

First: A transcript from Rand Paul’s Letterman appearance via Fox

David Letterman: The school system is bereft. It needs attention. It has fallen behind. We are embarrassingly trailing other nations in terms of public schools.

Rand Paul: Yes, we can agree. We can agree to the problem, but here’s the rub. In Washington, D.C., we spend $20,000 per pupil and we still have a crummy school system. It’s failing our kids; our kids are dropping out. Half of them are dropping out before they finish high school…their scores are abysmal…and we spend more and more money. So money’s not always the answer. You have to do something, but I think part of the problem is we’ve taken education from the local sphere and now we control it from Washington and I think that’s been a mistake.

Well, something has gone haywire because it’s not working and I’m sure I agree with that argument but if we’re going to throw money at something, why not education? Let’s just see if it improves somehow.

Paul: Well, I think competition makes things better. You have to compete with other late-night comedians; I have to compete with other physicians. I think competition makes us better. Think if you didn’t have that guy, what’s his name, you have to compete with?

(fade to commercial break)

Letterman: You know, I think he’s wrong about some of these things. I just can’t tell you why.


Via the UK’s Mailonline (H/T Watts Up With That?)

Eco-campaigners who built a classroom powered by the sun believed they were paving the way for the future.

Instead they have been taught a valuable lesson – there is not enough sun in North London to sufficiently heat their building.

The much feted zero-carbon Living Ark classroom was opened three months ago to great fanfare… 

…But there is snag – its solar panels only provide enough energy to power a few lightbulbs.

As a result the classroom is bitterly cold and uninhabitable for lessons…..

….[T]oday a local parent at the 419-pupil school said teachers weren’t allowing pupils into the classroom because it was too cold.

Oh, that’s not the funny part.  Read on:

Headteacher Jill Hughes defended the project and said she hoped classes would be held in the classroom when the weather gets warmer.

She said: ‘We’re delighted to have the Living Ark – its a tremendous resource both for the school and the local community and is an important part of the Muswell Hill low carbon zone initiative.’


Letterman  completely disregards that $20,000 per pupil in DC = crummy school system and continues to advocate throwing money at education to “see if it improves somehow.”  Now THERE’S logic!

And the Headteacher is proud of an EMPTY  (albeit very pretty) classroom and touts it as a “tremendous resource” and “hopes” it can be used….someday. (Psst: Ms. Hughes – if having a low carbon classroom was that important, you coulda’ saved a bunch of money by building a room out of cinderblocks and keeping it empty too. Ugly to be sure – but just as low carbon as your pretty Living Ark – which you should probably rename, BTW.  Glad the original Ark like…actually worked and all….)

Facts, who needs ’em? I think these folks are wrong about these things…and I just told you why!  Have YOU come across head shakingly silly discourse on education that you’d like to share?

That’s not the lesson you should have learned

Noor al-Maliki was a beautiful young American girl, except her parents didn’t want her to be. They wanted her to behave as if the family were still in Iraq, where she wouldn’t have access to jeans or boys.

 So her father killed her. It’s all about honor, you see.

What strikes me most is the attitude among other immigrants:

Asked whether the community has taken away any lessons from Noor’s murder, the owner of an Iraqi grocery store in Peoria nods, explaining, “They don’t want their daughters to become like Noor.”

Saher Alyasry, a mother in her mid-30s praying at al-Rasool mosque, speaks out firmly, in Arabic, while her teenage daughter, rocking a newborn, translates. “I think what he did was right. It’s his daughter, and our religion doesn’t allow us to do what she did,” she says. “A guy who cares about his reputation, he should do that because people will start talking about him if he doesn’t.” When asked if honor is more important than love, she responds, “Yes. What’s the point of loving her if she’s bad?”

And liberals scoff at those who worry Sharia law will become more commonplace in heavily immigrant communities on American soil.


At last: Wesley J. Smith weighs in on Baby Joseph

Joseph Maraachli’s parents continue to fight for the right to take their son home

Additionally, they now have some aid from Fr. Frank Pavone–noted for his involvement in trying to save Terri Schiavo–and Priests for Life, who have volunteered to cover the costs to bring Joseph to the United States for a tracheotomy to enable him to go home to die as Maraachli’s daughter did eight years ago.

This CNN article, highlighted by bioethicist Wesley Smith, gives more history to Baby Joseph’s plight. The kicker:

If he is beyond hope, they want him to be able to receive a tracheotomy, where he can be transferred home and die in the care of family instead of in a hospital. Experts say even if the family is granted this request, caring for a child in this condition is an arduous task. Dr. David Casarett, director of research and evaluation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Hospice, says patients at home with tracheotomies need monitoring to make sure the airway is clear of secretions, the skin is clean and dry and someone can make sure the incision at the tracheotomy site does not get infected. “A child’s care would be much more complex if a home ventilator is required, since the parents would need to manage the ventilator with the help of a nurse and respiratory therapist,” he said.

If the family wishes to undergo the “arduous task” of caring for Joseph at home, the family should have the option as they did for their daughter.  They know what’s involved in the “arduous task” and want to bring the “arduous task” home, so be it. Why should experts care how much of a burden their child will be at home? The Maraachli’s don’t care. They’ve done it before. Why? Because that’s what parents do.

Smith responds:

This is a very hard thing, and I see both sides to this aspect of the case.  But the request for a tracheotomy raises different ethical issues than requesting that life support be maintained in hospital. In my view, refusing the tracheotomy surgery is not a futile care imposition, since the surgery is not primarily intended to maintain the baby’s life, but rather is an elective procedure, to allow the parents to bring him home to die. That is a completely understandable, nay, laudable, desire on their part, but it presents a different wrinkle to the situation than the usual futile care dispute.  And let me emphasize: It wouldn’t be an issue if the hospital weren’t trying to force the baby off life support.

Read the rest and continue to pray that the Maraachli’s are able to bring their son home.

“We hope that it will have little impact on their combat and security operations here”

So says Army Command Sgt. Maj Marvin Hill, the senior enlisted soldier in Afghanistan of new gay sensitivity training on the battlefield at the forward operating bases (FOBs).

Alternate title: How to lose a war.

From the Washington Times:

“I have heard about the training that will be forthcoming to the battlefield,” Sgt. Hill told Pentagon reporters via a teleconference from Kabul.

“We will take our directions from the Department of Defense, from the secretary of defense, the chairman, as well as the service chiefs of each service. Our plan is to take their direction, and we’re going to execute that training right here on the battlefield.”

No unit is exempted, he said.

“Our goal is to not allow a unit to return to home station and have the unit responsible for that,” he said. “While we own those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, we’re going to execute that training on the ground. We hope that it will have little impact on their combat and security operations here.”

Hope it will have little impact?

Yeah, me too. Granted, Hill is doing what every good Sargeant Major does: taking an order and implementing it. But this is–pardon my expression–the biggest bunch of horseshit I’ve ever seen come down the pike. As a military wife, I’ve seen plenty, but this takes the whole bakery. There is no reason this can’t happen once the soldiers redeploy home. Soldiers in FOBs have one concern: fight, win and stay alive.